Every January we as a family of Common Ground come together at our annual All Church Visionary Gathering. The purpose of these gatherings is to acknowledge where we’ve been with God, and to look ahead and dream and to cast a vision of what God wants from His church and where we are headed as a local body in the coming years.
So often it seems we have to come up with some new creative strategy and idea for doing and being the church. And why? Because we are told that the flock will get bored and grow complacent and then shop somewhere else for their religious entertainment. In reality by following this faulty format we are casting a blurred unhealthy vision that focuses inward toward self.
A healthy 20-20 vision church will be a God-focused, outward-looking church, a church that is intentionally and continually gazing upon our great and glorious triune Lord. The health of a church is realized in the direction of its gaze. Whom are you gazing upon? If it be not Christ and His Gospel, your vision is skewed, blurred or even blind.
As 2 Corinthians 3:18 declares; “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. . .” A church is transformed as we together continually gaze upon Christ in His Word and Gospel. The Biblical essentials of church health like holiness, faith, love and sound doctrine are cultivated in us as we are captivated by Christ alone.
Our vision for Common Ground in the coming years will remain as sure and steadfast as God’s Word and Gospel are. We will continue to build His church of Common Ground in a way that makes much of God and a corporate captivation with Jesus Christ a normal part of our lives together. We want to continue to create opportunities to be enthralled together by the beauty, work and character of the One True God of the galaxies.
Mark Dever in his book The Deliberate Church writes the following: “If people are transformed ever more perfectly into the image of Christ by gazing at Him, then the job of the pastor and evangelist is not to come up with more innovative or clever methods. It is rather to present people with the clearest picture possible of biblical truth. The more clearly we present Christ’s person and work to our local churches, the more clearly we will come to reflect His glory together as in a mirror.”
As we continually stay the course that God has divinely laid out for us in His Word and Gospel we will come to realize that God’s vision becomes our vision. An outward looking church begins to see how God sees His world – a world that is lost in sin and in need of a Savior. We gain a bigger picture in seeing a world where God’s glory and His kingdom must be manifested in every tribe, tongue, people and nation. Is God’s glory being manifested in your family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers, strangers and even enemies?
Please pray with me that 2015 would be a year in which our entire church family of Common Ground would be consumed with a God-size vision in seeing Christ’s glory manifested throughout His universe from local to global! Pray that we would all stay the course as we intentionally reproduce God-Exalting, Gospel-Equipping, Global-Evangelizing disciples of Jesus Christ. And pray that God’s Holy Spirit would indeed fill us and control us to the greatest extent possible as we trudge through this world as resident aliens looking forward to our true home and future hope in glory!